Crawl, Walk, Run…CATCH ME!

When did life get so serious?  Why have so many people decided that once they hit a certain age it’s inappropriate to laugh out loud and giggle and snort (ok, only some people snort when they laugh…I’m one of them…and THAT’S totally fine!)  Why can’t we laugh hysterically?  I believe that children have a secret that we have all forgotten about.

Here is the scenario.  Adult sitting and chatting with other adults.  Toddler walks by and yells “CATCH ME!”  Adults continue to discuss the news or politics or something else horribly dull and tedious.  Toddler yells louder “CATCH ME!”  Then toddler picks the “chosen chaser” by whacking them on the back.  That got me thinking?  How did this whole chase start?  I know that I pretend to chase them as soon as they are crawling, but how did this actually start?  Did people do this to teach their children to run away from animals or other threats?  If so, when did it go from being a scary thing to a super fun thing?  (See, there goes my adult brain again).  Let’s get back to the chase.

Toddler starts running.  Now, it is also quite interesting how a child runs.  When they are first introduced to this incredibly fun game, they will start running forward.  However, they will keep turning their head backward to watch the person chasing them and see how close they are.  It’s kind of funny watching them run into walls and doorways or trip over toys.  No, I’m not mean.  You would laugh too.  And they can’t run fast enough to actually do any damage.  The whole time the child is running away they are laughing hysterically, which oftentimes slows them down because there are just too many things on the go:  running forward, constantly looking backward, laughing, and the eventual crash into something.  That’s a lot for a little brain to maintain.

Now, once you catch them there is the obligatory tickling or perhaps even the toss up in the air.  Such an adrenaline rush!  Chaser starts walking away and hears “Catch me!”  Yup, time to do it all over again.  This game goes on for about 15 minutes.  After that the child is too exhausted to run and usually trips over their own feet.  The adult is also tired because it’s hard to run (and not run) fast because you can usually catch up to them in two steps.

Now, think about the actual expenses of a game like this one.  No dollar amount.  It’s cheap…unless you are counting losing 15 minutes of your life which you would probably spend doing something adult-like and boring.  Watching a child laugh and giggle makes you feel like a real superhero too.

When parents (guardians) buy toys for their kids, they try to find something that will make their eyes pop open wide with glee.  I find it interesting that as children grow up they will forget the “special” gifts you got for them.  Sure they might have a favourite teddy or blankie, but all the other toys will be forgotten.  What they will always remember is the time you spent with them.  The fun, goofy things you did with them.  Time is more valuable than monetary gifts.

So, when your grandson says to you, “Grandpa come catch me”, and you look at him and say, “I can’t run.  My knees are bad.”  Then the little 3 year old smarty pants giggles and says, “Grandpa, walk and catch me.”  Ha ha ha!  Genius reply!  He found the loop hole.  There will always be ways to play chase.  There will always be those magical memories that seem so insignificant to older people, but the kidlets will remember them forever.

Your time is valuable.  Do something fun with it.  Remember that if they are crawling, walking, or running you can always play the chasing game and feel like a kid again.  A creaking, arthritic kid, but you’ll appreciate that bit of time spent free-wheeling in KidWorld.

Time to end this short escapade of a story.  I’ve been whacked in the back…time to do some chasing!

 

“Chopped” Chef or…Chef Chopped?

Although I don’t write about it much, I am a foodie.  I loved the Food Network…when it first came out.  It was great watching chefs showing you how to prepare meals.  I learned a lot.  What do I see now on the foodie stations?  Competitions.  I believe I have come up with a new concept that I want to pitch to the “foodie” networks.  (Note:  I should probably copyright this as someone is going to read this and steal my idea.)  A new cooking show that involves:  COMPETITION!  (I know, right?  A very novel and inspiringly new idea).

Before I reveal my superb revelation, think about all the competitive cooking shows on tv right now.  It’s the same trifecta:  1) Judges 2) Chefs 3) Time limit.  Who can bake the greatest cupcake in the shortest time?  Who can use the weirdest ingredients to make meals (again, clock is ticking)?

IMG_3306Which child can create exotic meals and desserts.  As time passes, I see that there are more and more cutthroat culinary shows being created.  I figured, why not jump on the bandwagon and create another show?  My genius idea came to me suddenly while I was watching Chopped

The gem of an idea began brewing in my grey matter whilst observing my toddler grandchildren eat.  An absolutely brilliant idea for a new show.  It follows along the same lines of the other challenging cooking shows so it should be accepted into the fold.  It’s dastardly and degrading and demeaning (the dream “D” formula for television shows).

Here is my idea:  You want belittling?  You want chefs to be tortured?  You want to watch failure to the umpteenth degree?  I give you Chefs Chopped!  Yes the new and exciting show where trained chefs prepare meals for a panel of toddlers.  You want a challenge?  I am throwing down the gauntlet.

Have you ever tried to feed a toddler?  Yes, there are many of you who have.  You know what it’s like.  Well, in the “olden” days it was basically like this:

Parent:  (*Puts pot of grub on table)

Children:  (*snarf / yum / gobble)

Conclusion:  Lack of food makes you eat everything without complaint.

AFTER DEPRESSION / WWI / WWII:

Parent:  (*Puts food in front of child)

Child:  (*through tears) I don’t like it!

Parent:  Whack!  Eat it or I’ll hit you again!

(Ahhh…the fond memories of my childhood)

After the beating era of life, came the more educated era where there were books and papers and magazines and shows FULL of information on how to raise the perfect child.  This included healthy recipes for feeding your perfect child.  After creating one of these wonderful masterpieces, the food would be placed in front of said model child.  After much begging and pleading, ketchup would be doused all over the nifty, fancy food so that Perfect Child would eat SOMETHING…ANYTHING!

Nowadays, it is even more difficult to feed your child.  Allergies, preservatives, organic or non-organic, pesticides, hormones, cholesterol, saturated fats, etc.  What can you feed your child?  Well, if you listen to ALL the stories out there in web-world, your child should eat…nothing.  Yes, it’s true.  There is no good food out there.  Well, there is good food this week…but next week it will be bad so best not to tempt fate.

“Fruits and vegetables are good right?”  Nope.  Fruit is full of pesticides and many children are allergic to certain fruits.  “What about the frozen ones?”  Yeah…well welcome to E Coli.  “My children are vegetarian (or vegan).”  Good for them!  They won’t survive the food devastation either.  I have done the research.  Between E coli, parasites, viruses, bacterias, hormones, pesticides, etc. there will be nothing nutritious left to consume.

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I, so far, am very blessed and lucky with the kids and grandkids.  I have a few recipes that seem to generate happy smiles and full bellies:

  •  My homemade soup (with homemade noodles) has not killed or maimed any of them.  It is actually requested.  I get disappointed groans if it’s not on the menu.
  • Crépes – to be filled with whatever they choose (Nutella is winning this week)
  • Broccoli – this brassica appears to be a steamed vegetable they all agree on
  • Green beans – that, surprisingly, made the short list
  • Mozzarella – Sliced (not grated) however it must be made by Salerno
  • ANY pasta – lasagne, macaroni, fusilli, orzo…any pasta!

Now…meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, preferences vary as they get older (or basically, every 2 minutes).  Each week they decide what they like and don’t like.  It goes from the initial “YAY” whoop of joy to the “BOO” 10 minutes later when it’s on their plate.  Example:  “Can I have that apple?”  After two bites:  “I don’t want it,” and the subsequent attempt to put bitten fruit back into fruit bowl.  Next is the obvious grab for a different piece of fruit which eventually leads to cries of woe when they are informed that they must eat the two-bite-scarred apple first and THEN they can try something else.  Ahhhhh…the great adventures of toddler palate.

So, dear foodie channels, think about how fantastic this show would be!  Children smiling, waiting for their food.  Chefs cook and present their culinary masterpieces.  Suddenly, [camera zooms in] child starts deconstructing the plate.  Toddler Rule #1:  Thou shalt not let one type of food toucheth another.

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Example of carrot invasion into broccoli territory

That’s why many children’s plates are subdivided.

Next:  Food allergies.  Must remove all fruit(s) that child is allergic to.  The eating finally begins and then the contorted faces of disgust and the “Ewwwwws” and “Yucks” start to be heard.  The Chef with the least amount of ewws and yucks wins!  The others?  Well if they haven’t run away or started convulsively crying…then they get chopped (like a karate chop hand coming down on their picture…haha!)  What an amazing show!  All done in the name of fun and supreme competition!  Yes, I give you Chef Chopped!

P.S.  Dear foodie networks, I am available evenings and weekends for a meeting to discuss my future in the television industry.  You’re welcome!